Kyle Rittenhouse took a stand during his own trial, saying he shot three people in Kenosha last year in self-defense.
Kyle Rittenhouse, the American teenager face charges for the shooting death of protesters at a racial justice rally last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, took a stand at his own trial and insisted he acted in self-defense because he feared for his life.
Rittenhouse’s dramatic testimony Wednesday was repeatedly halted, including when Judge Bruce Schroeder ordered a breather after the 18-year-old began sobbing as he recalled the events leading up to the shootings.
Rittenhouse, who carried an AR-15 rifle on the evening of the events of August 25, 2020, said he was threatened, pursued and ambushed by the people he shot.
He fatally shot two protesters and injured a third amid a spate of Black Lives Matter protests in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man.
“I did not intend to kill them. “I was going to stop the people who attacked me,” Rittenhouse told the court.
“By killing them,” prosecutor Thomas Binger said.
“I did what I had to do to stop the person who attacked me,” Rittenhouse replied.
Prosecutors accused Rittenhouse of inciting confrontations with protesters.
He stands in the face murder charge, with possible life sentences, for shooting dead Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, wounding Gaige Grosskreutz, now 27, in the arm.
Rittenhouse says he was in downtown Kenosha with his gun and a medical bag to help protect property and people during riots.
He told the court on Wednesday that Rosenbaum had orally threatened to kill him and tried to grab his rifle, that Huber had hit him with a skateboard and grabbed his rifle, and Grosskreutz, who was carrying a gun, lowering his rifle to Rittenhouse’s head. .
Grosskreutz jurors said earlier in the week that his hands were in the air when Rittenhouse shot him, emphasizing that he never intended to use the gun he was holding. “At that moment, I felt I had to do something to try and prevent myself from being killed or shot,” Grosskreutz said.
But Rittenhouse said he tried to surrender after shooting Rosenbaum and did not want a clash with protesters.
“I did nothing wrong; I defended myself, “he said.
The trial sparked a U.S.-wide debate over race relations, firearms violence and vigilance.
The protests against the shooting of Blake came months after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, which resulted in nationwide Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Prosecutor Binger stressed Wednesday that Rittenhouse was not old enough to own a gun in Wisconsin at the time of the shooting.
He also questioned the teenager about misrepresenting his medical qualifications while offering people help that evening.
Rittenhouse said he was in a cadet program at a fire department, where he received medical emergency training.
Binger’s cross-examination of Rittenhouse was twice stopped by the judge because he raised issues that were not approved in pre-trial hearings and questioned Rittenhouse’s silence after the arrest until his testimony Wednesday, which is a constitutional right for suspects.
Defense attorney Mark Richards threatened to ask for a hearing on Binger’s actions.
“I have no idea why you would do such a thing,” Judge Schroeder told prosecutors.